[Re:]Entanglements at the Igbo Conference

Igbo Conference 2021

The [Re:]Entanglements project featured prominently in the 2021 Igbo Conference, with its themes of rebirth, renewal and regeneration. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the conference was held online, but lively debates followed the various talks.

[Re:]Entanglements project researchers George Agbo of the Department of Fine & Applied Arts and Glory Chika-Kanu of the Department of Political Sciences, both University of Nigeria, Nsukka, made fascinating presentations based on our fieldwork with the Northcote Thomas archives. You can watch their presentations below.

George Agbo discusses how the power of sacred shrines and landscapes has been appropriated by the Church to form new syncretic belief systems, drawing on both traditional Igbo and Christian belief systems. He draws on examples including the Mpuniyi Ara shrine in Nimo, the Idemili shrine in Agulu and Ngene Ngendo shrine in Nibo, all of which were visited and photographed by Northcote Thomas in 1911, to discuss the transformations these sites have undergone over the past 100 years.
Glory Chika-Kanu discusses continuing belief in Ilọ Ụwa (reincarnation) among Igbo communities and how this became evident through our fieldwork returning Northcote Thomas’s photographic portraits of individuals to the locations in which they were originally taken in 1911. Glory explores the different ways in which people identify their ancestors, including those whom they reincarnate, through the agency of the archival photographs.

At the start of [Re:]Entanglements, Paul Basu introduced the project in a keynote at the 2018 Igbo Conference with a presentation entitled Colonial Anthropology and its Archival Legacies.